A client from Pasadena, CA, contacted Pioneers Heating and Air for AC maintenance. Their air conditioner had not undergone a professional service in more than a few years, and they had not cleaned it either in quite some time. Our HVAC technician came and found a heavily dusted evaporator coil clogged with dirt and debris. We explained that their unit’s evaporator coil needed heavy-duty cleaning; otherwise, it would negatively impact their unit’s performance and longevity. With the use of highly-pressurized steam and chemical cleaning, we have restored the efficiency of their air conditioner. In addition, the client received comprehensive system diagnostics, troubleshooting, and preventive maintenance advice.
A good-quality air conditioning unit has an average life expectancy of fifteen to twenty years. Replacing an AC unit can be costly, so you should take all the necessary steps to extend its life. The evaporator coil inside your air conditioner’s indoor air handler unit is one of the system’s most critical components. Because the evaporator coil is located in the air stream of your system, it naturally attracts contaminants and dust. Keeping the evaporator coil clean is an effective way to extend the life of your AC unit.
Cleaning your AC evaporator coils is essential in achieving peak system performance and comfortable home cooling. If the evaporator coil becomes dirty, it will not absorb heat as efficiently as before. It will also force your air conditioner to work harder to cool your home, resulting in higher energy bills. In fact, air conditioners with dirty coils consume up to 40% more energy than those with clean coils. Furthermore, dirty coils can reduce the cooling action of the AC unit by up to 30%.
The increased strain caused by dirt and dust degrades the evaporator coil more quickly and shortens its lifespan. Dirty evaporator coils can also cause ice buildup that will freeze the entire system, causing an automatic shutdown. Other issues that can arise when the evaporator and condenser coils become dirty include frozen refrigerant lines, lowered heat transfer, increased operating pressure, and higher temperature.
The evaporator coil is housed inside the air handler, typically found in the utility closet, garage, basement, or attic. The air handler should have a removable access panel that exposes the evaporator coil. Before removing the panel, ensure the AC is turned off at the thermostat and the circuit panel.
Wipe away the debris buildup on the coil’s copper tubing and closely spaced fins. When cleaning the AC evaporator coil, you may use either of the following:
A soft brush can be very good at removing fine dirt from a dirty evaporator coil without damaging the fins. Using a brush allows you more control over the pressure you apply and the areas you clean and makes it much easier to sweep away the dirt. Brushing also lets you scrub more aggressively when necessary.
Compressed air will be enough if the dirt buildup on the evaporator coil is not too heavy. Just make sure to direct the compressed air in the opposite direction of the normal airflow across the evaporator coil. You may use a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and debris from the evaporator coil. And remember to wear eye protection, too.
It will help if you use a pressure washer or a steam cleaner for heavy-duty cleaning. If you must use a pressure washer, use low pressure only. A high-pressure washer can easily damage the evaporator coil, as the fins are easily bendable. However, if you accidentally bend a few fins, you can straighten them out with a fin comb.
Coil cleaning is a great way to maintain your system and avoid costly repairs down the road. If you want to keep your AC evaporator coil clean at all times, turn to Pioneers Heating and Air. We offer first-rate AC maintenance services to keep your evaporator coil clean and operate at peak efficiency. We serve homes and even businesses in South Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley. Schedule a free consultation today and see how we can help you improve your home or business’s comfort and air quality.